Thought these palm-fringed islands were only for hermit-like honeymooners? Think again – The Standard, Maldives is here to spice up paradise for singletons, groups of friends and families. This is the first tropical venture for the sociable hotel group with a reputation for making mischief in urban outposts like New York, Miami and LA. And though the thrills are more PG, it hasn’t lost its playful touch: daytimes are filled with traditional Maldivian pursuits – snorkelling on the house reef, taking boat trips to nearby isles and hanging in the communal hammam – but by night, you’ll be shimmying to tribal beats by a beach bonfire or boogying in the disco-loving overwater nightclub.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome drink in your room on arrival; for GoldSmiths, a $50 spa credit (one a person)
Double rooms from £325.78 ($401), including tax at 27.6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of $6.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a generous daily buffet breakfast in Kula. Half-board and all-inclusive rates (the latter of which includes house wines, beer and select spirits and other beverages) are also available.
Giving new meaning to Cinema Paradiso, the hotel often puts on ‘Moonlight Cinema’ screenings by the pool. Check with the concierge for exact timings.
At the hotel
Private beach, PADI dive centre, tennis court, beach volleyball, table tennis, billiards, fitness centre, personal training, Pilates and yoga classes, kids’ club and teen zone, motorised and non-motorised watersports, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: an ‘activity wall’ (with snorkels, masks, life vests, a rubber ring and inexplicable ukulele), TV, Bluetooth speaker, air-conditioning, and tea and coffee.
Our favourite rooms
There are no wrong answers – each villa is breezy and beachy with joyful splashes of highlighter-bright colour, a private deck, and a plunge pool. You’ll just need to choose between overwater (for castaway romance) or beach (for a touch more space and privacy). Decisions, decisions…
As well as the individual plunge pools in each villa, the hotel’s main swimming pool is infinity-edged and blessed with uninterrupted ocean views – you can order drinks and snacks straight to your sunlounger from Joos Café. There’s also a shallow pool in the kids’ club.
This is the place to relax and reboot – the spa is home to a hydrotherapy circuit, a communal hammam where you can apply DIY mud scrubs, an aroma steam room and nine treatment rooms. In keeping with the brand’s Cali roots, the new-age treatment menu features CBD therapies and crystal healing. Long journey? Try the 90-minute Maldivian Chill jet-lag treatment that uses lomi lomi, and reiki techniques. There’s also a full schedule of yoga, sound-healing and meditation classes that take place on the spa’s heavenly overwater pavilion.
Bring something sporty for joining sunrise yoga sessions or knocking up on the tennis court, and your brightest swimwear for coordinating with the coral.
Unfortunately, the hotel isn’t suitable for wheelchair users.
All ages aboard. The Lil’ Shark kids’ club welcomes ages two and up. In high season, the 82sq m inflatable water park will keep them occupied for hours (yes, you’re allowed to play on it, too).
All the restaurants make the most of their impossibly turquoise surroundings with floor-to-ceiling windows, so grab the table closest for pinch-yourself ocean views.
Anything goes at Joos and Kula. We’d don brightly printed cocktail dresses and pressed linens for Guduguda, although, even here, shoes are optional.
With four restaurants and two bars, you’ll never go hungry here. Joos Café is a casual, shady spot by the pool serving smoothies, sandwiches and salads (and super-fast WiFi in case there’s a pesky email to send before you can get back to pretending you don’t have a job). Its lounge area is lined with vintage books and magazines to browse over coffee. Kula is the main restaurant, a bright, breezy and open-air affair with lots of lush foliage that serves an international buffet. You can keep your feet in the sand at the BBQ Shak – fresh seafood and meats are grilled to perfection over charcoal and served with house-made sauces and a side of reggae-inspired music. The most upscale option is gorgeous Guduguda, where local ‘aunties’ cook up authentic Maldivian family recipes: the freshest fish curries, local seafood and perfectly made breads. You’ll swoon over the dark and intimate interiors with woven rugs and low-slung seating.
There are two. Todis Bar is just off the pool deck, serving bar food favourites like fresh oysters, fried-chicken sandwiches and burgers, as well as ‘toddy’ cocktails made with local liquor and served in a half coconut shell. This is where you’ll find the tubular 3D ping-pong tables, and checkers, chess and backgammon to while away the hours in case an errant storm blows in. Boogie over to Beru Bar, the glass-bottomed nightclub that hovers over the lagoon, to find the Standard spirit: live DJs, sunset drum ceremonies and karaoke. Cocktails are made with unique spirits and fresh tropical juices. Try the moreish bar snacks, too: tamarind and coconut prawns, and banana-blossom fish and chips. Todis Bar is open from 10am to 1am, with food served from noon to midnight. Beru Bar opens at 5pm and calls time at 2am (midnight for food).
Kula serves breakfast from 7am to 10.30am; lunch is 1pm to 3pm; and dinner is 6.30pm to 10pm. BBQ Shak is open Wednesday to Sunday, 5.30pm to 10pm. Joos Café is open daily from 7am to 8pm; food is served between noon and 6pm.
The full Kula menu is available as room service during restaurant hours.
You need a transfer to reach this hotel. For approximate costs, see location information
The Standard Maldives occupies its own private island, Huruvalhi, in the Raa Atoll, a short seaplane hop from Malé.
You’ll fly into Malé’s Velana Airport. When you clear customs, you’ll be met by a hotel representative who’ll escort you to the seaplane (transfers are US$525 for ages 12 and up; $263 for children aged 2–12; and free for under-2s). Smith24 will be in touch to arrange seaplane travel once your hotel booking is confirmed.
If your international flight arrives in Malé between 4pm and 10pm, you’ll be booked onto a domestic transfer instead – it’s a 25-minute flight to Dharavandhoo Airport and then a 25-minute speedboat to the resort (these transfers are US$425 for ages 12 and up; $210 for children aged 2–12; and free for under-2s).
Worth getting out of bed for
Start the morning with sunrise yoga on the spa’s overwater pavilion or challenge someone to a refreshing rally on the tennis court. Or, grab your snorkel and flippers off the activity wall in your villa and, with just a few flutters of your feet, you’ll be hovering over the house reef, home to 98 types of coral, sea turtles and the occasional manta ray.
Aqua babies, rejoice – almost every conceivable watersport is available right on the beach: jet-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing and kiteboarding. For something further flung, the resort can organise all manner of boat excursions – dolphin-spotting, cocktail cruising and seeking out surf spots – as well as diving courses that range from introductory to advanced. You can channel Melville in the Maldives with fishing escapades, too. Whether you prefer line-fishing like a local or trawling for big game (tuna, swordfish and barracuda) in deep waters, the staff can cook your fresh catch for you that evening. Bragging rights: earned.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this rambunctious hotel in the Raa Atoll and unpacked their sun-splashed Polaroid pictures and unworn shoes, a full account of their colourful island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Standard Maldives…
We thought we knew the Maldives: snuggled-up stargazing, blissed-out beach lazing and lots of time to stare deeply into the eyes of your beloved. But the Standard, Maldives has arrived to shake things up, providing singleton-friendly paradise sans schmaltz (and for a price that doesn’t make you wonder how much you could get for your left kidney on the dark web). You’ll plug into the sense of irreverent mischief as soon as you set foot on Huruvalhi, the resort’s private-island home – it’s hard to take yourself seriously while slathered in mud in the do-it-yourself hammam, playing 3D ping pong (way more entertaining than it has a right to be) or clambering absurdly over the inflatable assault course. Factor in the punchy Pantone hues, bold features and seriously smiley staff, and the fun becomes downright infectious. Consider yourself warned – you’ll be grinning like an idiot in every photo.